Aaron True has crossed off some mighty big items on his athletic to-do list.
State champion in high school? Check.
All-American in college? Done that, too.
True’s proficiency in the javelin has rewritten the record books from Southern Coffey County to Wichita State University (and beyond).
Now, the Le Roy native and SCC alum will go for his toughest quest yet: The U.S. Olympic Trials.
True will compete in Eugene, Ore., next weekend against the strongest throwers in the country.
While an Olympic bid is unlikely — perhaps for any of the Americans — True is eager to give it a shot to cement his legacy as one of the country’s finest javelin throwers.
“I feel like I’m in pretty decent shape,” said True, who graduated from Wichita State in 2019.
Since his college graduation, True has embarked on a professional career, as a Farm Bureau Insurance agent in Lebo, where he also serves as the Lebo High track and cross country coach.
He has amped up his training in recent weeks as the Trials neared.
Additionally, he’s continued working on his technique.
While talent and strength are vital, “it doesn’t matter much if you can’t hit the perfect positions,” True said. “It’s all about lining everything up properly.”
As a college junior, True broke the WSU and American Athletic Conference record by throwing the javelin more than 254 feet, a mark that ranked as the top throw in the United States at the time. (Two others subsequently surpassed it.)
True nearly replicated the monster throw a year later, when his throw of 247 feet still kept him in the top five.
His college graduation had True lined up perfectly to continue training for an Olympic Trials bid last summer.
But then COVID came, and put a halt to all things Olympics for a year.
“Once that happened, I stopped training, but I got back into it,” said True.
Add to that a wedding and birth of his son, and True’s full-time schedule is now even fuller.
But the pandemic also offered True an automatic qualification for the upcoming Trials.
“They used my throw from 2019,” he explained.
He will be among 24 throwers, and will likely be seeded in the second batch of 12 to compete.
“That’s the best flight,” he said.
If all goes well, True will advance beyond the preliminary round on June 19 and qualify for the finals two days later.
Qualifying for the Olympics is another matter entirely.
True said the International Olympic Committee has set a qualifying standard of 83 meters, or nearly 275 feet. That’s a mark no U.S. thrower has hit this year.
“I think somebody can do it,” he said. “It’s just a matter of who puts things together.”
True’s parents, Jeff and LaDonna, and his grandfather, Don Meats, will accompany him to Oregon.
Weary of taking his 3-month-old son across the country, True and wife Shelby agreed she’d root for him from home.
Jeff True is a long-time track, girls basketball and volleyball coach at SCC.
TRUE set the Class 1A state javelin record his senior year at Southern Coffey County, clearing 202 feet — a mark that stands today. It was the 15th-best throw of all javelin high-schoolers in the country, regardless of school size.
From there, he became a two-time All-American at Wichita State and four-time all-conference thrower, winning the conference javelin title outright three straight years after placing second as a freshman.
His 254’3” javelin throw remains the longest ever for a WSU athlete.
TURNS out True, like his father, has become a standout track coach as well.
“I knew I wanted to coach, but I didn’t know if my job would allow it,” he said. “Fortunately, it does. I just like being around the sport and being around kids.”
The kids apparently liked it, too.
Under True’s tutelage, Lebo senior Devan Mc-Ewan took second in the javelin at the state track meet on the boys side, and sophomore Brooklyn Jones took silver in the same event on the girls side.
Jones was in line to win, until another thrower, who was unable to compete as scheduled because of a schedule conflict, came in after everyone else had thrown, and uncorked her best throw on her last attempt, to edge Jones by 3 feet.
“We’d thought she had it won, so that was heartbreaking,” True said. “But it’s been pretty cool.”
For good measure, True also worked with Olpe thrower Max Blaufuss prior to the season. Blaufuss was the thrower who defeated McEwan for gold at the state meet. Blaufuss has signed to compete collegiately at Kansas State University. True suspects he will contend for a conference title, and perhaps more, by the time his throwing days are over.
True figures he’s worked with more than a dozen area youth since graduation.
“It seems like it’s really taking off,” he said.
THE U.S. Olympic Trials will be broadcast on NBC, and via the NBC Sports livestream.